W. B. Strong Fire Co. 1990 Firovac
Firovac Still Going Strong After 26 Years
Mike Parker - W. B. Strong Fire Company Inc.
Freeville, NY


I am from the W. B. Strong Fire Co. Inc. in Freeville, NY. We purchased a Firovac tanker back in 1990 that is still in use today. It has been one of the most highly efficient and lowest maintenance pieces of equipment we have in the area that can run circles around any other truck in our area. I am getting information to start the process of replacing it with another vacuum tanker.

Tanker Shutter Drill
"All About Efficiency...Very Impressive"
Charles D. Clark - Colerain Township

I'd like to report another outstanding showing made by a Firovac Tanker. Yesterday 9-21-13 Ft. Larimie FD near Sindey, Ohio conducted a tanker shuttle drill. There were 11 tankers involved. They traveled 4 miles around a country block and dumped along a 16 ft. wide road. Their peak delivery rate was 1625 GPM. The vacuum tanker from Lockington did an outstanding job. They had a dump tank set for the vacuum to fill at the fill site. There were as many as 4 conventional tankers lined up to fill at the one fill site (They were pumping out to the road several hundred ft. from a pond). The vacuum tanker went right around all the other tankers setting in line and self filled from a dump tank (which filled up while the tanker made its cycle to dump). It was really interesting to talk to Lockington's Fire Chief. He is a knowledgeable young man. They have recently installed an underground cistern that serves their village. The vacuum tanker averaged 12 min. per cycle (167 GPM) - just like at Morrisvale in Oct. 2011. Several people timed the fill rate of the 2,000 vacuum tanker. The average fill time (which included hooking and unhooking th section hose) was 2 minutes. That involved 15 sec. to connect; 15 sec. to disconnect and a fill rate of 1,300 GPM. Even the tall gentlemen who debated with me at Bowling Green that vacuum tankers had no advantage over conventional tankers stated, "...The truck works..."

During the debriefing Parker Browne stated, "...It's all about efficiency... I hope you all got to see the vacuum tanker lap the other tankers several times.."  The operator of the truck was very smooth in handling the truck. -Very Impressive!

Glenn Whittington

Glenn Whittington is a Firefighter with the Buffalo V.F.D and a West Virginia University Adjunct Fire Instructor. He spoke the following review:

I've never seen anything like Morrisvale's trucks. I asked them to bring one to a water movement class I was doing in Putnam County. It was on a hill top and I did not see anywhere to get water for the vacuum to load. Chief Estep said, "I can get water from there." I said, "that's a ditch"... but that is where he got water. It really impressed me.

Could that be why neighboring departments say:

"That truck just MAKES water."

"Morrisvale, they just flow a river"

"It is the Morrisvale fire hydrant. Its literally amazing. Water comes out without being hooked to anything and suddenly without warning, will make you a sandwich."  

Well it does do amazing things but that might be a little exagerated. However, William Frazier writes on Facebook, "I have one and they are the best thing for rural water to ever be built."

Water Movement, Charles D Clark, Morrisvale West Virginia
Charles D Clark

Charles D Clark is a member of the "Water Delivery Technical Advisory Committee" of the Ohio Fire Chief's Association. He has been interested in rural water movement for many years. In 2011 he observed an I.S.O. pratice water movement drill in Morrisvale, WV using vacuum tankers. Following are his observations:

1. Effecient set up of dump site.

Morrisvale FD carries their suction hose on their pumper below the ladders at chest height with low level strainer preconnected. This makes it possible for one person to remove it instead of 2. Dump site was completely set up      within the I.S.O. recommended 5 minutes with 4 people (2 on pumper and 2 on tanker).

2. Prompt return of first tanker to dump site is critical. The first vacuum tanker was refilled and waiting to move in to dump for the second time before the first mutual aid tanker was finished dumping its first load of water                  (at approximately the 17.5 minute mark of the drill).

3. If you need mutual aid to supply a pumper to fill non-vacuum units- How soon will the water from that site be available?

4. No waiting to fill.

5. Efficiency of side dump tankers. Tankers could dump into any and all of the four dump tanks at one pass.

6. Tankers turned empty.


A tanker sitting still is not moving water!"


What If?

Excerpt from ISFSI July/August 1992 publication "The Voice":

Teach our people to challenge tradition. While there are many good traditions, there are far more of a ridiculous, "We've always done it that way," nature. Challenge your people to say, "What If."

What if… you could load amazing vertical lifts and discharge through remote monitors?

What if… you could load from available yet remote sources?

What if… you could transfer water through LDH to drop tank from remote sources (pump and dump)?

What if… you could "pump and roll"?


"Won't be a S-- Truck in Our Station"
Firefighter in Ohio - Neighboring Department

"There won't be a s-- truck in our department" was a comment made recently by a firefighter in a neighboring department to one that has a Firovac unit. We have heard simular comments by other departments for some time.  There are several industrial areas in which vacuum is effective. Most people are well aware of one of these areas.  However most people do not know that centrifugal pumps (like a fire pump) are used in the same industrial areas (water moving like irrigation and septage) because fire pump companies have separated themselves from their original companies many years ago. I have also heard fire personnel berate a "milk truck" yet fire is the only service that tries to carry water in a square container.

As the neighboring department with the Firovac unit asked: "What are we in this for?  Are we only concerned with a big fancy looking truck?  If a vacuum truck provides more water, why not use them?"  An example of supplying more water would be when within 2 weeks of receiving the Firovac unit they had a barn fire.  The Firovac unit supplied 4 loads (7200 total gallons) of water to the fire before any other tanker could return with a load.  The closest hydrant was 3 miles away. The Firovac was able to tap into a large stream a half mile away.  This water was unuseable to the other tankers.

The late Larry Davis would teach it doesn't matter what type of container you supplied water to in rural areas.  Does it not make the most sense to supply as much water as efficiently as possible with the least resources?  I'm sure our constituents would think so.

Chief - WTVFD

"I don't think people realize what these vacuum units have done for our community."

Chief - Marshallville VFD
Marshallville, Ohio

"It's amazing how we do things different now." [With a Firovac] "We attack the fire more."

Priming, Water Supply, Vacuum Apparatus
Try Something Else
Chief Brian Conrad - Boyce VFD
Boyce, Virginia

Pumper was never able to get prime successfully from this location, so, the vacuum truck connected and was able to acheive prime. Prime was maintained as long as the pump was never shut down.

Water Supply, Training
Practice, Practice, Practice
Chief Brian Conrad - Boyce VFD
Boyce, Virginia

2007 - Practicing getting water from difficult water sources with new vacuum tanker. Pumper trying to draft from stream with low volume of water. We tried making a temporary dam to increase the volume of water. It didn't work real well for the pumper but we had fun.